Pastor Bashir Alam is undoubtedly the most prolific original Urdu writer the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Pakistan has produced in the last one hundred years and more. His contributions to the world of Christian Urdu literature are numerous and noteworthy. His books include, Sila-e-Nijjat and Suchi Kahaniyan Hamara Virsa. The former is a collection of his sermons and articles which had previously appeared in Qasid-e-Jadeed, the latter a compilation of his articles about important Biblical themes. Both volumes are an eloquent testimony of Alam's love for his Lord, deep commitment to his religion and mastery of the intricacies of Urdu language. In addition to his published books, he has also authored scores of other articles in Qasid-e-Jadeed and Sehat, the two monthly magazines published by the church's headquarters in Lahore. He has the distinct honour of being appointed twice, the editor of these magazines. In 1999, the Seventh-day Adventist Church administration, recognizing his contributions presented him with a Shield of Appreciation.
Pastor Bashir Alam has also translated, form English into Urdu, eight books, three of which are by Mrs. Ellen G White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mrs. White's books are are held in very high esteem by its members and are believed to be and often referred to as the Spirit of Prophecy books. The EGW books he translated are: The Desire of Ages (Zamanoon ki Umang), The Ministry of Healing (Shifa kay Chashmay) and Acts of the Apostles (Ibtadai Kelisia Kay Darakhshan Sitary). The other books he translated are, Eight sure steps to health and happiness (Shahra-e-Shifa), The truth will set you free (Sachai Tumay Azad Karey Gee), Sweet Poison (Zehar-e-Laziz), Sunday Law (Yeh Haqiqat woh Afsana), and Where There is No Doctor (Jehan Doctor Nahien, Nau tarmeem edition 2008).
In his long and productive service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church he has taught Urdu and theology at Pakistan Adventist Seminary, ministered as a church pastor, authored books, edited magazines and served as a church administrator. He, though officially retired from active service in 1999 as the president of the Northern Section, continues his literary activities and continues to be a beacon of light for his many readers.
Pastor Alam's track record as an Urdu writer in the SDA Church is one that will be hard to break in the near future.
© Akhtar Injeeli 31/01/2013